collusion

Michael Cohen’s opening statement he plans to give before the House Oversight Committee has been shared with the media, in which he accuses President Trump of being aware of possible collusion with Russian hackers.

Cohen testified in a closed-door session with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, but is due to testify before the House Oversight Committee in an open session on Wednesday morning. Prior to being grilled by committee members, Cohen will deliver a blistering opening statement that accuses Donald Trump of committing multiple felonies both before and after becoming the 45th President of the United States.

The president’s longtime “fixer” already previously pleaded guilty to multiple felonies in 2018, and is due to report to prison on May 6, where he will serve three years. The pending prison sentence may be partially why Cohen is not holding back in his opening statement, accusing his former boss of being a “racist,” a “con man,” and a “liar.” NBC reporter Brandy Zadrozny tweeted some of the juicier parts of his statement Tuesday night:

One of the biggest revelations in the statement is Cohen’s accusation that then-candidate Donald Trump was kept up-to-date on longtime ally Roger Stone’s conversations with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange regarding the 2016 leaks of Democratic National Committee emails.

Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who initially obtained the emails, was later pegged as a Russian spy, using an IP address from the headquarters of the GRU agency in Moscow — Russia’s equivalent of the CIA. Stone began sending online messages to Guccifer 2.0 in August of 2016.

If, as has been previously reported, the leaked emails were indeed obtained by Russian hackers, this would mean Trump potentially had knowledge of collusion between his campaign and Russia — something he frequently denies. (Trump has said “no collusion” in public appearances more than a dozen times).

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia has already yielded multiple guilty pleas and convictions. In February of 2018, NBC reported that Mueller was asking whether or not Trump had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ dump of the stolen emails prior to their release. Most notably, Mueller’s team also asked about the relationship between Stone and Assange.

And, according to CNN, Cohen is also planning to state that Donald Trump Jr. told his father about the meeting with a Russian lawyer connected to the Kremlin — which Donald Jr. attended after being promised dirt on Hillary Clinton — in advance. This is also something both President Trump and his son have denied.

In addition to the WikiLeaks conversations and Trump Tower meeting, then-candidate Trump was also clued in on the ongoing negotiations between the Trump Organization (his real estate business) and the Russian government in regard to the development of the Trump Tower Moscow project.

Although the project was ultimately scuttled once Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination, Cohen plans to state Trump stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars from the development, and that his personal legal team edited Cohen’s prior statement to Congress, in which he perjured himself, about the timeline of negotiations.

“There were at least a half-dozen times between the Iowa Caucus in January 2016 and and the end of June when he would ask me, ‘How’s it going in Russia?’ — referring to the Moscow Tower project,” Cohen’s statement reads. “You need to know that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to Congress about the timing of the Moscow Tower negotiations before I gave it.”

Finally, Cohen also plans to state that he has a copy of the check that Trump wrote him after he became president reimbursing Cohen for his hush money payment to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels).

In response to the statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that Cohen was a “Disgraced felon” who is “going to prison for lying to Congress and making other false statements.”

“It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies,” Sanders stated.

 

Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.

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